August 12, 2022

5 best bets to make against the spread

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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 20: Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 20, 2020, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Steelers and Colts are among the best NFL bets in Week 3.

We’ve hit Week 3 in the NFL season and it feels like we’ve hit a milestone for gambling information. Each team has played one home game and one road game, giving us some context for how everyone will play this season. We’ve seen some teams emerge as surprises while others haven’t lived up to the hype. Let’s take a look at five of the NFL’s best bets for Week 3 with all lines courtesy of the FanDuel Sportsbook.

5. NFL Week 3 best bets: Minnesota Vikings +2.5

It hasn’t been fun to be a Vikings fan in 2020 after a pair of bad losses to Green Bay and Indianapolis. A trendy pick to win the NFC North in the preseason, Minnesota now is in desperate need of a win and are 2.5 point underdogs at home against the Tennessee Titans.

This is a big opportunity for Minnesota, since Tennessee hasn’t been super impressive despite its 2-0 start. The Titans have squeaked out wins over the Jaguars and Broncos by a combined five points, which is a contributing factor to why the spread is so close.

One area where Minnesota could have a significant advantage is with the running game. Tennessee has surrendered 136 yards per game on the ground over the first two weeks of the season, including 165 to the Jaguars on Sunday.

The Vikings can exploit Tennessee’s struggles to defend the run by unleashing Dalvin Cook, freeing up Kirk Cousins to work off the play-action passing game. Add in the fact that the Vikings are home underdogs and it means a win covers you, so grab the points with Minnesota here.

Next: No. 4

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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 20: Jonathan Taylor #28 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball against the Minnesota Vikings at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 20, 2020, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

4. NFL Week 3 best bets: Indianapolis Colts -10.5

Sometimes in the NFL, you get big lines but they are worth laying if the matchup is right. This is certainly the case for the Indianapolis Colts this week, who find themselves as 10.5 point favorites at home.

We’ll focus on Indianapolis first, which recovered nicely from a disastrous loss in Jacksonville to easily handle the Vikings at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 2. Jonathan Taylor stepped up to anchor the running game, carrying the ball 26 times for 101 yards and a touchdown to give Indianapolis some serious run-pass balance.

The Colts’ defense also did a good job against the run, limiting Dalvin Cook to 63 yards on 14 carries, and harassing Kirk Cousins into a three-interception performance. All of those things will work together nicely when the hapless New York Jets come into town this week.

The Jets got blown out at home against a San Francisco 49ers’ team that was down nine starters in the second half (including Nick Bosa, who is now out for the year), but head coach Adam Gase insisted his team’s injuries were the reason why the Jets couldn’t produce on offense in the second half. The truth is the Jets are just a bad football team that may be down Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman this week, but this stat is the most telling reason to bet on the Colts.

Gase’s teams have lost 29 games by double-digits, with 12 of those defeats registered among his 18 losses leading the Jets. This game has blowout written all over it so lay the points with confidence here as Indianapolis will win this game by at least two touchdowns.

Next: No. 3

a group of baseball players on a field: Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

3. NFL Week 3 best bets: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6

Let’s head to the NFC South for our next best bet with a look at the Buccaneers, who bounced back nicely with a 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers. Tom Brady looked much more effective in this matchup but the story of Tampa Bay’s win was its running game.

Leonard Fournette became the new backfield bell cow, rushing 12 times for 103 yards and a pair of scores as he supplanted Ronald Jones as the starter. This run-heavy game plan made a lot of sense with Chris Godwin out due to injury, but it looks like the star receiver should be back in action this week when the Bucs head to Denver to take on the 0-2 Broncos.

Denver suffered a tough loss in Pittsburgh but the bigger news was the significant injuries the Broncos suffered in the contest. Courtland Sutton is now out for the year after tearing his ACL while Drew Lock is out for 3-5 weeks after suffering a shoulder injury.

The Bucs are six-point favorites against a Denver team being quarterbacked by Jeff Driskel, which seems laughable on face value. This game has major blowout potential so lay the points with Tampa Bay with confidence.

Next: No. 2

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GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 20: D’Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions runs for yards during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2020, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 42-21. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

2. NFL Week 3 Best Bets: Detroit Lions +6

One thing that bettors need to keep an eye on with their NFL picks is motivation factors for teams. Desperation is a key element to watch and that certainly fits the Detroit Lions to a T.

After collapsing in Week 1 the Lions were blown out in Green Bay last week to fall to 0-2. Matt Patricia is certainly on the hot seat, but it is worth mentioning that if D’Andre Swift held onto the game-winning touchdown pass in Week 1 this would be a .500 team.

Detroit is also getting back top receiver Kenny Golladay this week as they head to Arizona, where they are six-point underdogs against the Cardinals. Arizona is one of the big storylines of the league after a 2-0 start and their upcoming schedule certainly makes a 5-0 sprint possible.

The Cardinals are a young team that isn’t used to these kinds of accolades, however, so it is entirely possible they overlook an 0-2 Lions team. This could be a trap game for Arizona, so grab those six points with the Lions as this matchup has a tremendous chance to be a close game.

Next: No. 1

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PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 20: Alejandro Villanueva #78, Chukwuma Okorafor #76, and Kevin Dotson #69 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during the game against the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field on September 20, 2020, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

1. NFL Week 3 best bets: Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5

There are plenty of 2-0 teams this season but a few have fallen under the radar so far. One of those teams is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have looked very sharp over the first two weeks of the season.

Pittsburgh’s defense smothered Saquon Barkley in a Week 1 win over the Giants and took care of business against the Broncos yesterday. Ben Roethlisberger has shown he still has life in his arm, including a beautiful touchdown strike to Chase Claypool yesterday, while James Conner racked up over 100 yards after being hampered by an injury in the opener.

Denver did manage to keep the game close even with backup quarterback Jeff Driskel in the game, which has soured oddsmakers on the Steelers to an extend. Pittsburgh is still favored this week against the 0-2 Houston Texans but they are laying only 3.5 points at home.

Houston has had a rough draw with their schedule by opening with Kansas City and Baltimore, so going 0-2 wasn’t surprising, but they haven’t looked particularly good in either game. Deshaun Watson is a dangerous player, but this line assumes the game will be close, which is a dangerous assumption to make after watching the Texans’ tape the first two weeks.

3.5 points is a very reasonable total to lay and the Steelers have looked like the much better team so far this season. Laying the points with the Steelers is, without question, the best bet in the NFL this week.

Last Week: 4-1

Season: 7-3

Next: Which 0-2 NFL team is in the most trouble?
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